The Seasons of our Lifetime
I was reminded the other day how our lives can be viewed from the perspective of four seasons. As youngsters and teens, we are living our freshest and most “green” lives very much like a bountiful spring, growing ourselves in a hundred different ways all at once. When we have figured out who we are and what we want to accomplish, the summer season holds our adult years. By this season, we’ve settled into a lifestyle and our work earnings are dedicated to building a home life and family and becoming part of a larger community.
When we reach the fall season, this is when we stretch into our middle age and it’s here that we usually reach the apex of our earnings and low and behold, we start saying “…how am I going to comfortably retire?” We can clearly see who is going to need extra care (beyond ourselves) such as an aging parent, special needs child, or close family member. We could be still paying off college bills — our own or our children’s — or be meeting unexpected financial or medical challenges.
Quite frankly, I consider this the set-up season to every individual’s last season, winter, where we must dedicate ourselves thoughtful planning, not only for ourselves, but others. No one wants to be left out in the cold, so to speak.
Fortunately, and to my delightful discovery, so many individuals in Fallbrook, Bonsall, Rainbow and nearby regions are thoughtful planners! Names come to mind: Roy Ansell, Elizabeth Wilson, Jerry Kalman, Dr. John Gawley, Jon Frandell, Viola McDowell, James Hopson, Roberta Collister, Charles and Carole Mitchell, John and Vernice Deranian. These individuals not only planned for themselves and their families, but they also planned for beloved organizations and causes with great affection and consideration. They started endowment funds at Legacy Endowment Community Foundation to make sure there was always an annual distribution of funding that would help uplift the lives of others. Names may lose some measure of identity as decades pass, but their good intentions to help others will never fade, long after the passing of their “winter” season.
This year, Legacy Endowment’s Grants Committee and Board of Directors released more than $562,000 in distributions because of individuals who took the time to arrange for charitable gift planning. Quite a few arranged for Charitable Remainder Trusts which paid them a generous monthly income through their life’s winter season and also prearranged for the remainder of monies after they passed to become permanent endowment funds. They used not their typical monthly income, but their assets to efficiently plan so contributions to their favorite charities would be ongoing in perpetuity.
We can see the seasons change each year, and every one of us passes through these seasons of change in our own lives. Doing good, changing the world, making a difference, these things CAN always be done. It’s just a matter of planning for the season.
This is a reprint of Jean Larsen’s article in the Village News on November 8, 2023.
This is part of a series of articles written to share important information about charitable giving and the various ways you can easily support your favorite charities and community.